ARC DNF | Lobizona by Romina Garber

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.”

3/5 Stars ~ Goodreads ~ Young Adult Fantasy

This is yet another ARC from Netgalley, so I would like to say thanks to Romina Garber and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me access.

I, however, was not a fan.

Usually, I rate DNF’ed books 1 or 2 stars, but I didn’t have the heart to do that. This is a long book, totaling around 400 pages. I didn’t like how slow the set up was. I stopped reading at 55%, according to my e-reader. If I’m not hooked by 50%, I usually stop.

I gave it a 3/5 stars, despite DNFing it, because I enjoyed the writing and the overall plot. There were lots of things that I didn’t like, but I don’t want to rattle on about those when there are some good things about this book, as well.

The Good Parts

The plot and world building were interesting. I enjoyed getting to know the world that Manu was a part of. Manu grows up in hiding and forced into isolation, which is very relatable right now (considering current events). She doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere and she finally discovers who she is and how she fits into the world, but because she’s late to the party… she doesn’t really fit in anywhere.

I liked the theme of the story. I loved how Garber introduced undocumented immigrants in a fantasy novel. That’s new to me; I’ve never read a book that incorporated such an intense theme in the world of fantasy before. It was a great idea and the culture was well embedded.

I don’t speak Spanish. The characters do. A lot. However, Garber ingeniously translated without it seeming forced. Props for that!

The Eh Parts

I didn’t connect with the characters. I’m not so much a plot reader. I’m a character reader. If I don’t connect with the characters on some level, I can’t read it. I connected with Manu a little bit because the story was told through her eyes. I couldn’t connect with anyone else. All the other characters seemed flat.

Large books do not intimidate me. At all. However, I hate it when a huge book takes a long time to get started. It’s one of my bookish pet peeves. If it’s a smaller book and it’s a slow roll out, it doesn’t bug me as much. The plot didn’t pick up until about 40% of the way through the book. That doesn’t work for me.

I was really looking forward to a werewolf book and I feel like this isn’t it. At 55% of the way through, we still don’t meet the wolves. We have one brush with them and Manu didn’t seem that taken aback by it. Her reaction fell flat, in my opinion, which disintegrated my interest in the werewolves. If she’s not interested, why should I be?

So, should you read it? It depends. It’s not a horrible book; it’s just not for me. If you like fantasy books that deal with heavy issues like immigration, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Lobizona by Romina Garber will be released August 4, 2020. Garber is was on the NYT Bestseller List and author of the Zodiac quartet.


Hi, everyone! I have worked in the field of education since I was nineteen and have a passion for literature. I have five years of experience as a library media specialist (paraprofessional), 2 years as a substitute teacher, and I am currently a general education paraprofessional. I have a Bachelor's in Library Media and Science, which I intend to use to eventually become a youth services librarian. I'm a proud book nerd, writer, gamer, hiker, and baker.

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